Case Studies

As part of IFAD’s greening efforts, the Administrative Services Division has initiated various activities, such as reducing plastic and paper consumption, enhancing waste management, carpooling and a monthly IFAD Bike to work day (in collaboration...
WFP's Armenia office had a dilemma. Their ageing, inefficient air conditioning system needed replacing. On offer were a cheap unit that uses the coolant Freon, which causes holes in the Ozone layer of the Earth's atmosphere, or a more expensive unit...
Environmental issues such as competition for dwindling or lucrative resources often lie at the heart of conflict. Conflict in turn can devastate habitats, making recovery to sustainable peace a hard road. Recently, peacekeeping mandates have begun...
In one sense at least, the Copenhagen conference on climate change was a big success. The 13-day gathering in the Danish capital in December 2009 ended with an international accord that arguably fell well short of expectations in terms of a new...
Over 30,000 participants poured into Copenhagen from 192 countries all round the world in December 2009 for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Tens of thousands more, however, did not need to go there in person – or add thousands of...
You can hardly fail to notice the Green Boards at the Bangkok headquarters of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). There's one at the main entrance, another in the lobby by the lifts, and others in...
Cutting down on travel can make a big difference to the carbon footprint of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). That's why its directors, leading from the top, agreed to commit themselves to cutting their own travel by as...
Videoconferencing is becoming a key resource in the drive to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), where a climate neutral initiative has set the goal of a 20% cut in emissions by 2020...
Signing up to become climate neutral, and starting with a 'green' global conference, is like learning to swim by diving in the deep end. But that didn't deter the secretariat of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (...
Personal engagement at the top can be crucial in making an organization's policies, its staff behaviour and its whole ethos more sustainable. As Executive Coordinator of United Nations Volunteers (UNV) since February 2008, Flavia Pansieri has not...
When travel is by far your biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions, how much can be cut? At the UNAIDS programme the Executive Director has committed to reducing travel by 25% over the next biennium across the whole organization – where it...
Across the United Nations, agencies are finding that travel policies first introduced to control costs are a valuable tool for delivering environmental benefits too. That is certainly what is happening at the International Organization for Migration...
What could be more appropriate than a native tree planting programme, for offsetting the carbon emissions of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD)? In fact the Montreal-based organization has been involved in two projects...
You would expect it to be green, and the International Environment House (IEH) doesn't disappoint. A recent USD 3.1 million retrofit has helped gain it the coveted MINERGIE certificate – a Swiss standard for building materials and energy efficiency...
After four years of preparation, in June 2008, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) moved into its new headquarters in Rome, uniting the formerly three IFAD locations to one. The aim was to reduce the organization’s impact on...
Turning its need to relocate to maximum advantage, the United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA) now has a refurbished 'green' office suite it can be really proud of. Housed in an 11-storey building in...
The United Nations is getting a grip on the greenhouse gases (GHG) it generates. In an unprecedented joint effort, the whole UN system has compiled an inventory of its annual emissions. The total – the equivalent of 1.7 million tonnes of carbon...
There's a lot to be said for distance working. It can unlock impressive carbon savings, at relatively little cost, and a range of other benefits too, both for staff and the organizations they work in. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)...
As a climate neutral organization from 1 January 2008, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was one of the first UN organizations to commit to compensating for its emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). When it came to compiling its GHG...
Embracing the challenge of going climate neutral, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has had to be willing to make some major changes. But major changes cannot be made without the buy-in of management and staff. That's why UNEP's work...
The newest addition to the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON) should be a real showcase of sustainability. Destined to host the global headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN-Habitat, it has the distinction of...
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is engaged in a drive to make its travel policies more sustainable and reduce their climate footprint. Several of the steps it has taken on this front date back to 2006, and it continues to look for more...
Operating on only a small budget, an easily replicated 'green' awareness-raising initiative at the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) could serve as a showcase for the entire UN system.
A lot of paper has been saved since the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) introduced its electronic workflow system. The switchover has also saved staff from a seemingly ever growing burden of paperwork.  
Many of the staff based at the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) don't actually have to be there to do their jobs effectively. Thanks to UNOV's Mobile Office project, they can access all their office facilities, at any time, from wherever they...
A lot of the UN's work is done through conferences, and they're obviously meant to have an impact. Their environmental impacts, on the other hand, are rightly under critical scrutiny. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has made it a...
For eye-catching publicity, the 'Plastic Water Bottle Awareness Campaign' should win some sort of award. Dreamed up by a couple of concerned individuals at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, it also fits squarely with the agency's...
Leading the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on to a greener path - that's the essence of what Julie MacKenzie was asked to do, over a 20 month period from 2008 to 2009. More specifically, as the organization's Environmental Management...
Alireza Ghaemi is head of Building Management Services (BMS) at the Vienna International Centre (VIC). More to the point, he's the man responsible for leading on the making this massive complex more sustainable, and pioneering an innovative special...
Turning the UN Vienna International Centre (VIC) into a more sustainable workplace was a challenge on many fronts. Not least of these challenges was working out how to raise the funds.
Something had to be done about the UN Vienna International Centre (VIC). To put it bluntly, after 20 years of operation, it no longer came up to scratch. Its environmental performance left a lot to be desired.
When UN agencies were asked to identify the biggest element in their environmental footprint, the World Bank's answer was paper. All those reports and exchanges of written information at the core of the Bank’s work use tonnes and tonnes of it.
“Got 10 minutes?” This is what Footprint Champions have been asking staff in the Footprint Commitment campaign at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is part of the World Bank group. The point of the question is to get people thinking...
Aware of its exposure to climate change and the need to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the World Bank Group has set up a detailed GHG inventory system to track emissions across its worldwide operations. This not only tells it precisely...
One of the first UN organizations to get to grips with greenhouse gas emissions accounting, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has pioneered a procedure for offsetting the emissions it can't avoid. Having committed itself to become...
Getting the funding right, for the massive renovation project at the UN headquarters in New York, was one of the major challenges for the team running the so-called Capital Master Plan (CMP).  
The United Nations is currently engaged in a five-year project to renovate its headquarters in New York.  This so-called Capital Master Plan (CMP) is a massive undertaking. How the CMP team went about raising and running the USD 1.9 billion...
Thanks to a renovation programme carried out to the highest environmental standards in the summer of 2008, the 10th floor of an office block occupied by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) became the first UN office in New York to win...
A UN office in Slovakia became a real powerhouse  of renewable energy when its solar system of 170 photovoltaic (pv) panels went live in October 2009.
Podgorica has never had anything like it. And the ultra-green UN building that is going up in the city is an exciting new project for the United Nations too. Designed to be completely self-sufficient in energy, it's the first zero emissions office...
Plans for a Green One UN House in Hanoi say a lot about the aspirations of the United Nations. The energy-saving and wider environmental credentials of the building itself, the future home for all 16 branches of the UN family working in Vietnam,...
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has been actively promoting an environmentally friendly work culture in its buildings in Bangkok since 2002.
The UN Secretariat Office of Information and Communications Technology (OICT) is in the process of implementing ICT Guidelines for Greening and Environmental Sustainability for the Secretariat. The guidelines, developed as part of the ICT Fast...
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) headquarters in Montreal obtained Canada’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification for Existing Buildings (LEEDEB) in 2007. ICAO’s headquarters is the first UN premise...
The new World Meteorlogical Organization (WMO) headquarters building reflects the organization’s commitment to environmental protection and energy efficient management. A system of Canadian wells runs vertically through the building, through which...
The Universal Postal Union (UPU) has been actively reducing its climate footprint since 2005, when it established the Environment and Sustainable Development Project Group and adopted an environmental policy.
Over the period of a few months in autumn 2008, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) drafted its 2009/10 Climate Neutral Policy, completed a first inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, set measurable emissions-reduction...